April is Autism Awareness month and started nearly a quarter of a century ago by The Autism Society in a nationwide effort to educate and inform people about Autism. Autism is a mental condition that is characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with people. People with Autism also have difficulties using language and abstract concepts.
According to Autism Support of West Shore, Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the name of the group of developmental disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a wide range, a spectrum of symptoms, skills, and different levels of disability. There are three different types of Autism Disorders. The most commonly known is Autistic Disorder sometimes called ‘classic’ autism. Asperger Syndrome is a more mild form of Autism. People with Asperger syndrome typically struggle with social challenges and may have unusual behaviors and interests. Unlike Autistic disorder, most do no struggle with language or intellectual disabilities.
The last type of Autism is Pervasive Developmental Disorder also called “atypical disorder”. These people may not meet some of the criteria for Autistic Disorder or Asperger Syndrome. They usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with Autistic Disorder. The symptoms might only cause social or communication challenges.
The symbol that represents Autism is a multi-colored puzzle pieces. It reflects how complex the Autism spectrum is. The different colors are to represent the diversity of the people who live with the disorder. Every puzzle piece is different and accurately reflects the diversity of people. However, the official color for Autism is royal blue.
According to the organization Autism Speaks, thousands of landmarks around the world lit up blue on April second for National Autism Awareness Day. The Palace of Culture in Warsaw, Poland and The Ancient City of Petra in Jordan. The Rockefeller Center in New York and even The White House were lit up blue.
Autism Awareness month is so much more than just spreading awareness. There are big and small ways to be involved and spread awareness. There are events people can attend like walks or other fundraising events to show their support. Hormel Historic Home Autism Programming in Austin is holding a Stepping Out For Autism community fundraising event. It will be held on April 22. They are asking people to come dressed as superheroes to help celebrate the hero/heroine in everyone.
Other than spreading awareness it is important to not spread stereotypes or misconceptions. Autism is a hard thing for many people to understand, that makes it even more important that information being shared with people is correct and accurate to avoid confusions and misconceptions about Autism. The ultimate goal of many organizations is to spread awareness and give people an understanding about what autism really is and they are doing that one piece at a time.